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2nd World Investment Forum kicks off in Xiamen

Source:   Time:

 
The opening ceremony of the 2nd World Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), opens in the coastal city of Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 7, 2010. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping delivered a key note speech at the ceremony. [Photo Source:Xinhua]
 

XIAMEN, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders gathered in southeast China Tuesday that they must promote sustainable development through international investment.

He urged governments and businesses to make investments that better stimulate economic activity while promoting energy efficiency and green technology.

"International investment is high on the agenda of global policy-making," Ban said in a video message to the Second World Investment Forum (WIF) in Xiamen, Fujian Province.

"We must work together to advance responsible investment and corporate sustainability," said Ban.

With the theme "Investment for Sustainable Development," the forum is organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and has attracted more than 1,500 overseas investors, policymakers and international organization representatives.

Despite the recovery of worldwide capital flows since the downturn in 2009, Ban said, economic recovery remained fragile and the consequences of climate change were "increasingly clear."

He stressed the critical role of private investment in the spread of environment friendly practices and in reaching the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Established in 2000, the MDGs are eight development goals to be achieved by 2015. Agreed to by UN member states, the goals include time-bound targets for reducing extreme poverty and child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics, promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability.

In a keynote speech at the forum's opening, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said China, while striving to build an open economy, had been helping developing countries enhance their capacity for independent development, improve living standards and narrow the gap with developed countries.

"In future, we will encourage more Chinese enterprises to go aboard, deepen South-South Cooperation and truly help developing countries raise economic development capacity," Xi said.

 

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech during the opening ceremony and world leaders investment summit of the 2nd World Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in the coastal city of Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 7, 2010. [Photo Source:Xinhua]
 

CLIMATE CHALLENGE

The State Council, China's Cabinet, had also introduced a series of innovative measures to encourage investment in high-tech industries, new energy, and energy-saving and environmental protection industries in April.

The government had been encouraging foreign firms to move their operations to China's relatively poor central and western regions.

Aires Bonifacio Ali, Prime Minister of Mozambique, said natural disasters induced by climate change posed serious challenges to global cooperation and might undo the progress made in economic recovery.

He said most African countries still had no solid and sustainable infrastructure, such as education and healthcare institutions, which remained obstacles to attract more foreign direct investment.

He said that in many African countries, limited domestic markets, poorly-constructed roads and railways had driven up the costs of goods and services and prevented economies from developing.

Calling for an open and barrier-free market, he urged African countries to accelerate economic integration and develop more diversified products.

The forum participants include World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy and senior officials from many countries.

The high-profile list "demonstrates the importance that international investment has gained as an engine of growth and development," UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said at the opening ceremony.

The three-day forum would examine the challenges and opportunities for global investment in the post-crisis economy.

He urged "a new generation of investment policies" to promote a transformation towards a low carbon economy.

 

Participants attend the world leaders investment summit of the 2nd World Investment Forum, which is sponsored by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in the coastal city of Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 7, 2010. [Photo Source:Xinhua]
 
 
ENERGY REVOLUTION

The forum also features presentations from countries showcasing climate change-related investment projects.

Energy and drilling companies and engineering firms from Iceland will also attend the event to contribute their experience on the use of clean energy.

"The abundance of clean energy is the main reason why Iceland is... an attractive investment location for foreign companies," said Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland.

Iceland had based all its electricity production and space heating on clean energy.

However, Grimsson recalled that before the 1970s, more than 80 percent of energy in Iceland came from imported coal and oil.

"The climate crisis is primarily a call for a fundamental energy revolution, a comprehensive transformation from fossil fuel to green energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass sources," he said.

The three-day forum will include conferences on the impact of investment on sustainable development; how stock exchanges can promote sustainable business practices; and the need for a recognized set of principles for borrowers and lenders that promotes sustainable debt and credit conditions.

Also included is a ministerial round table that will address investment policy coherence in the post-crisis environment.

The WIF, a biennial event recognized as one of the most important events for the international investment community, was first held in Ghana in 2008.

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